By Jorge Diaz, MSW – Clinical Social Worker
We are three months into the year and the transgender community has lost seven human lives in the hands of transphobia. The reality is our nation has lost seven sisters, but unfortunately we don’t view our trans community as part of the “accepted society” therefore, the grief or loss is irrelevant to the majority. It is a waste of time to question why this epidemic continues after so many triumphs within the LGBT community. However, we need to continue to focus our discussion on identifying effective interventions and continue to raise awareness of this problem within our law enforcement entities, congress and families. Where does the hatred begin? How deep does the hate go to drive someone to kill? We have lost seven lives and not one single discussion on the implementation of effective policies has taken place under the new administration. However, what we have seen is this administration strip the transgender community of a basic right-the right to utilize the restroom and be free of harassment and discrimination.
Do these policies fuel the hate that is responsible for the high rise in hate violence towards our Trans community? Many may not relate or understand to what occurs in the restroom when we are in elementary or middle school and we are viewed or classified as “different.” The most terrifying acts of bullying occur in the restroom yet this administration has stripped the sense of safety and security from our transgender youth. I know it may seem silly to be bullied in the restroom or think it’s not a “serious” issue. However, when you’re ten years old and one or two classmates are threating to hurt you-it’s not so silly or funny. This is where the attack on our identity and sense of self begins. This is where many of us begin to view the “coming out” process with a negative lens. This is where many of us begin to build a negative perspective towards our male counterparts.
These experiences may fuel internalized homophobia-an internalized hate for oneself. This is where hatred begins. The seven lives lost in the hands of transphobia were not in the hands of a 5th grader or a high school senior. However, we must ask ourselves where does the hatred begin and how does it manifest to the point of murder? What are we teaching our youth with the setbacks in our school system with the latest executive order by this administration? Are we teaching hate or acceptance? We must stop ignoring the transphobia that continues to fuel an epidemic of hate and violence towards a beautiful community. Let me remind you that the “T” is needed in LGBT.